Men's Basketball Advances To Regional Final
March 5, 2010
Middlebury advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals after a 64-57 win over Gordon College in Pepin Gym. The win is the first NCAA Tournament victory for the Panthers, who will battle Rhode Island College, a 72-60 winner over Rutgers-Newark, on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. The victory gives the Panthers their school-record 25th of the season, against just three losses. Gordon ends its season with a 24-5 mark.
Andrew Locke was the story for Middlebury, breaking his own school record with 13 blocked shots for the Panthers, to go along with nine points and four boards. Middlebury ended the night with 16 total blocked shots. The strong defense helped the Panthers, as they shot just .344 from the floor in the win. Gordon converted 21 of 25 free throws in the game to stay within striking distance.
Middlebury came out strong early, taking a 12-5 lead at the 14:55 mark behind five points from Jake Wolfin and four from Locke. Gordon cut the advantage to three before a 10-0 run extended the Panther lead to 27-14 with 7:46 remaining in the half. Six points from Ryan Sharry sparked the Middlebury run. Trailing 30-18, the Fighting Scots closed the half on an 11-2 run to cut the Middlebury lead to 32-29 at the half. David Dempsey led Gordon down the stretch, scoring six points in the final 3:15.
Middlebury opened the second half on an 11-3 run to take a 43-32 lead behind a pair of threes from Nolan Thompson. One of the threes came after back-to-back blocks on the defensive end for Locke. The lead grew to as many as 16 on a three from Sharry at the 12:11 mark to make it a 52-36 game. Gordon hung tough and chipped away, cutting the lead into single digits down the stretch.
Locke continued his intimidation in the middle, as the 6'10" center blocked a shot and followed with a drawn charge with 3:05 remaining. Three free throws from Gordon's Aaron Trigg cut the lead to 57-52 with 1:42 left to play. Following a miss by the Panthers, Thompson stole a pass and converted a lay-up with just under a minute to go, extending the lead to 59-52. The Panthers made 5-8 free throws down the stretch to emerge with the 64-57 win.
Thompson led the Panthers with 17 points, Sharry scored 14 with nine boards, while Tim Edwards scored 12 with 11 rebounds. Brady Bajema of Gordon led all scorers with 21, followed by Greg Walker with a dozen and Dempsey with 10.